OSF HealthCare, Bradley University to Fund Interdisciplinary Projects

Oct. 26, 2022
Innovation for Health partnership to connect faculty scholars from Bradley’s five colleges with clinical researchers at OSF Innovation Labs

OSF HealthCare and Bradley University, both based in Peoria, Illinois, have entered into a new Innovation for Health (IFH) partnership to connect faculty scholars from Bradley’s five colleges with clinical researchers through OSF Innovation Labs and other OSF HealthCare providers to address healthcare challenges within and beyond the greater Peoria area.

OSF Innovation is comprised of designers, engineers, data scientists, performance improvement specialists and other experts who work to find the best ideas that will bring the greatest value to patients and communities. The formalized relationship will leverage Bradley’s expertise in the health and natural sciences. It will also create opportunities for Bradley University faculty in business, engineering, education, computer science, interactive media, communications, the humanities, the social sciences, and other areas to contribute to solutions-based research focused on the social determinants of health.

The OSF-Bradley agreement commits $1 million for each of the next five years to provide annual funding opportunities in the fall and spring for innovative, interdisciplinary projects addressing important healthcare challenges. The first request for proposals with awards up to $50,000 will be announced soon.

“For OSF HealthCare, the expanded partnership will support the needs of researchers, medical educators, clinicians and most importantly, patients,” said John Vozenilek, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer, OSF Innovation and Digital Health, in a statement. “We’ll now have additional resources and a formal process to focus strategically on ideas and novel approaches to impact medical education and simulation, prevention and treatment significantly. Additionally, we’re excited about the prospects of developing digital health solutions and novel approaches to improve access to quality patient care and to reduce health care costs, which is vitally important, particularly for our most vulnerable populations.”

Bradley University affiliate faculty member and director of the OSF Innovation Design Lab, Scott Barrows, said he is excited about having a reliable source of funding to spur ongoing collaborative research. “We have seen the importance of health literacy during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to expand options to reach those who can be easily influenced by disinformation and misinformation,” he said in a statement. “This agreement will accelerate and expand our capabilities to advance community health education, and to develop and test solutions that improve health outcomes in Greater Peoria and Central Illinois.”

This is not OSF HealthCare’s first such partnership. Since 2014, OSF has partnered with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP) to fund 124 research projects with grants totaling $8.3 million. Those efforts are aimed at improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. In 2021, OSF formalized a research partnership and made a significant financial commitment with the University of Illinois Chicago through the Community Health Advocacy (CHA) grant program to address health and wellness challenges in urban communities.

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